Choosing and installing the perfect solar inverter system for your home is not easy. There are many factors to consider in this regard. The reason is that almost all systems can convert DC to AC in an efficient way. You can use solar inverters to maximize the performance of your solar panels. But at times, it becomes difficult to choose between a micro-inverter and a string inverter.
When deciding between the two, it comes down to how much money you want to spend. Also, how much dependent do you want to be on your system? But since there are various other deciding factors, you must compare all the pros and cons. Let’s look at the merits and demerits of both micro-inverters and string inverters and see which one you must go for. But before that, you must know what a solar inverter is.
What is a Solar Inverter?
Solar cells in your panels are what convert sunlight into electricity. The rays of sunlight, when hit the system, cause the electrons to vibrate and create a Direct Current. But households can’t use it; they need an Alternating Current. So, a solar inverter converts that DC into AC, which you can use for home appliances. So, you’ll need to install a solar inverter if you have a solar system installed at your place.
What is a Micro Inverter?
These inverters are a recent addition to the solar market. They have a unique design to convert DC power into AC while allowing the solar panels to perform in an optimal way. A micro-inverter is a small gadget attached to the solar panel. However, some brands have micro-inverters covering 2-3 solar panels each. This system offers flexibility in the way that each panel has its own inverter. So, you don’t need to focus on the working of various panels. This means that any issue associated with one panel will not affect the performance much.
It doesn’t matter if each panel is facing a different direction, the system will work well if it is not integrated. This is one of their selling points.
Key benefits of Micro Inverters
Here are some of the advantages of micro-inverters:
- They omit the issue of “electrical bottlenecking”. This means that they immediately shut themselves down if there is a danger of high voltage. Their built-in capability allows them to keep generating power even if there is an issue.
- You can connect your system to Wi-Fi, meaning that you can control it with ease. You can also track the performance of each of your panels and make necessary adjustments if you want.
- It’s easy to expand your system because all you need is a panel and a micro-inverter; there is no need for integration.
- This system allows the solar panels to face in different directions.
- They come with a warranty of almost 25 years. This indicates that the system will last longer than any other inverter system.
Cons of Micro Inverters
Some drawbacks of micro inverters include:
- These inverters feature high-tech and expensive equipment. So, their capital cost is also high, i.e. at least $1000 more than any other system.
- Micro inverters are tiny roads installed with solar panels. So, you must not use them if you live in a stormy region.
- If one of the micro-inverters fails, you will have to detect every single one to see which is causing the trouble. This is quite tasking.
What is a String Inverter?
The working of a string inverter is quite different from the previous one. It connects the entire solar system to a main component instead of linking one to each panel. As a result, they form a string of solar panels. One of the reasons why people call them “solar industry standards” is that they’ve been there for a very long time. You may subdivide the panels into different inverters because of the design specifications. For example, four panels can form three strings, indicating that there are 12 panels in the system.
The size of the string inverter decides the number of panels in the system. Larger-sized inverters can accommodate more panels and vice versa. But ensure you perform string sizing before installing a string inverter at home.
Advantages of String Inverters
Here are some of the advantages of these inverters:
- This system allows you to wire all solar panels to a single or very few systems. This makes it cost-effective and less time-consuming.
- One of the things that proves this system’s user-friendliness is you can replace it with ease. Also, if the system fails, you’ll understand that the inverter is not working.
- Taking into account the simplicity of it, there will be fewer chances of wiring mix-ups.
- It is one of the best low-budget options available at the moment.
Even though the system is reliable, string inverters do have some drawbacks as well:
· You have to connect all the panels to one inverter only. So, the power you deliver to the inverter limits the power generated by one panel. It means if one of the panels stops working due to dust accumulated on it, the entire system will have to suffer.
· There is no such option for tracking panels’ performance since they are in a chain. The only thing you can track is the system’s total power output.
· The process of expansion of panels demands a lot of time and cost as well.
· Their lifespan is almost the same as that of solar panels, i.e. 8-10 years. This is less than many other efficient systems.
Micro Inverter vs String Inverter: Which one should you choose?
Each system has certain pros and cons which you must consider before buying it. Some people look for cost-effective options, while others prefer reliability. In this case, you must choose microinverters due to higher efficiency. But their design makes them expensive compared to string inverters.
At the same time, you may look for string inverters if you want easy troubleshooting. Cost-effectiveness is another benefit of them. But features like emergency shutdown won’t be there. So, whatever you want depends on your budget and your preference. It also depends on what qualities you’re looking for in an inverter. Irrespective of that, both systems are good at what they do, i.e. converting DC to AC.
Both systems have different working principles, and choosing one is challenging. Micro inverters are more efficient but costly as well. At the same time, central inverters are easy to troubleshoot but don’t last long enough. So, the choice is all yours depending on all the factors.